December 29, 2008
Prediction: In ’09 free will be the new rich. It always has been, really, but this year while millions of Americans are trying desperately to dig their way out from a mountain of debt, just being able to break even and walk away will seem a huge luxury. It’s small consolation that the government is in the same boat. Hey, weren’t they supposed to be smarter than us? The good news is that that best things in life are supposedly free, which means Gulfstreams, Bugattis, Bolivian marching powder, $1,000 hookers, and GameCubes off the list. Wow, there must be some free shit out there that’s really spectacular – stuff that’s not included in the gift bags at the Academy Awards or with the Presidential Suite at the Waldorf. Damn! If only there were an online catalog! No, not YouPorn, but something a bit more comprehensive, perhaps even metaphysical. Here’s something: Love. You can’t put a price tag on that, can you? Sure, you can probably buy something amazingly similar. For instance, if you tucked a couple of billion into Charlize Theron’s waistband, she could probably pretend to be a convincing soul mate. Seriously. Did you see her in Monster? Of course, she probably wouldn’t lay on a grenade for that kind of money, but if you can afford to buy a couple of billion dollars worth of fake love, you should be able to stay out of hand grenade range. Dick Cheney seems to manage on his measly government pension. Dick probably has a cut-rate fake soul mate, too, but you have to think that Deadeye Dick doesn’t stay awake nights worrying about whether he feels loved. Another freebie is friendship. It doesn’t get the same respect as love, but it’s nearly as hard to cultivate. You don’t necessarily need to roll with a Suge Knight-sized posse. A few friends are better than none at all. Real friends will stick with you regardless of the situation. Whether you’re standing in a soup line or snorting rails with supermodels in the back of a stretch limo, good friends will always be there for you: holding your hair back when you vomit, taking the B team on the double date, making bail, pointing out the hot chick’s Adam’s apple … you can’t put a price on that … at least not with anything on the gold standard. Lastly there is the beauty and splendor of the world itself. Yes, that’s largely a matter of perspective. It’s easy enough to find beauty in majestic mountain ranges, breathtaking coastlines, sweeping plains, and the like, but most people experience the world on a much more limited scale: deteriorating privacy fences, lots overgrown with weeds, car alarms, barking dogs, the smell of urine on the sidewalk, ShamWow ads. If you’re somehow able to see beauty in a plastic bag swirling around in a whirlwind, you’re as rich as the pope, spiritually speaking at least. Either that, or you’re really stoned and wasting videotape. Point is, you don’t need money to enjoy life, but you do need a certain amount of freedom. This year it looks like money will be in short supply. Good thing some of the bars in the Red River District are having free week to start off the new year. Between Jan. 2 & 10, the Mohawk, Club de Ville, Red 7, Beauty Bar, Emo’s, and others will be presenting free shows. This Saturday at the Mohawk, you can see the Riverboat Gamblers for absolutely nothing. That’s really spectacular. Get on it.